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Is't not a pity now, that tickling rheums
Should ever tease the lungs and blear the sight
Of oracles like these? Great pity too,
That, having wielded th' elements, and built
A thousand systems, each in his own way,
They should go out in fume, and be forgot?
Ah! what is life thus spent? and what re they
But frantic who thus spend it? all for smoke-
Eternity for bubbles, proves at last
A fenseless bargain. When I see such games
Play'd by the creatures of a Pow'r who swears
That he will judge the earth, and call the fool
To a sharp reck’ning that has liv'd in vain;
And when I weigh this seeming wisdom well,
prove it in th' infallible result
So hollow and so false-I feel my heart
Diffolve in pity, and account the learn’d,
If this be learning, most of all deceiv'd.
Great crimes alarni the conscience, but it sleeps
While thoughtful man is plausibly amus'd.
Defend me, therefore, common sense, say I,
From reveries so airy, from the toil
Of dropping buckets into empty wells,
And growing old in drawing nothing up!
"Twere well, says one sage erudite, profound,
Terribly arch'd and acquiline his nose,
And over-built with molt impending brows,
'Twere well, could you permit the world to live
As the world pleases. What's the world to you?--
Much. I was born of woman, and drew milk,
As sweet as charity, from human breasts.
I think, articulate, į laugh and weep,
And exercise all functions of a man,
How then should I and any man that lives
Be strangers to each other? Pierce my vein,
Take of the crimson stream meand'ring there,
And catechise it well; apply your glass,
Search it, and prove now if it be not blood
Congenial with thine own: and, if it be,
What edge of fubtlety canlt thou fuppofe
Keen enough, wife and Msilful as thou art,
To cut the link of brotherhood, by which
One common Maker bound me to the kind ?
True; I am no proficient, I confess,
cannot call the swift
And perilous lightnings from the angry clouds,
And bid them hide themselves in earth beneath ;
I cannot analyse the air, nor catch
The parallax of yonder luminous point,
That seems half quench'd in the immense abyss.
Such pow’rs I boast not-neither can I rest
A filent witness of the headlong rage
Or heedless folly by which thousands die,
Bone of my bone, and kindred souls to mine.
God never meant that man should scale the heav'ns By strides of human wisdom. In his works, Though wond'rous, he commands us in his word To seek Him rather, where his
The mind, indeed, enlighten'd from above,
Views him in all ; ascribes to the grand cause
The grand effect ; acknowledges with joy
His manner, and with rapture tastes his style.
But never yet did philofophic tube,
That brings the planets home into the eye
Of observation, and discovers, else
Not visible, his family of worlds,
Discover him that rules them; such a veil
Hangs over mortal eyes, blind from the birth,
And dark in things divine.
Full often, too,
Our wayward intellect, the more we learn
Of nature, overlooks lier author more;
From instrumental causes proud to draw
Conclusions retrograde, and mad mistake,
But if his word once teach us, shoot a ray
Through all the heart's dark chambers, and reveal
Truths undiscern'd, but by that holy light,
Then all is plain. Philofophy, baptiz'd
In the pure
fountain of et:rnal love,
Has eyes indeed ; and viewingall she fees
As meant to indidcate a God to man,
Gives Him his praise, and forfeits not her own.
Learning has born fuch fruit in other days
On all her branches: piety has found
Friends in the friends of science, and true pray’r
Has flow'd from lips wet with Caftalian dews.
Such was thy wisdom, Newton, childlike fage!
Sagacious reader of the works of God,
And in his word sagacious. Such too thine,
Milton, whose genius had angelic wings,
And fed on manna! And such thine, in whom
Our British Themis gloried with just cause,
Immortal Hale! for deep discernment prais'd,
And found integrity, not more than fam’d
For fanctity of manners undefild.
All Aesh is grass, and all its glory fades
Like the fair flow'r disheyell'd in the wind;
Riches have wings, and grandeur is a dream:
The man we celebrate must find a tomb,
And we that worship him, ignoble graves.
Nothing is proof against the gen'ral curse
Of vanity, that seizes all below:
The only amaranthine flower on earth Is virtue; th' only lasting treasure, truth. But what is truth? 'twas Pilate's question, put To Truth itself, that deign'd him no reply. And wherefore? will not God impart his light To them that ask it?-Freely-'tis his joy, His glory, and his nature, to impart. But to the proud, uncandid, infincere, Or negligent, inquirer, not a spark. What's that which brings contempt upon a book, And him who writes it; tho' the style be neat, The method clear, and argument exact ? That makes a minister in holy things The joy of many, and the dread of more, His name a theme for praise and for reproach?That, while it gives us worth in God's account, Depreciates and undoes us in our own? What pearl is it that rich men cannot buy, That learning is too proud to gather up ; But which the poor, and the despis'd of all, Seek and obtain, and often find unsought? Tell me and I will tell thee what is truth.
O, friendly to the best pursuits of man, Friendly to thought, to virtue, and to peace, Domestic life in rural leisure pass'd!